San Francisco May Damn-Near Outlaw Smoking Altogether

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Two new proposals on the table in San Francisco:

Smokers would find it harder to buy their cigarettes and light up in public under two proposals under consideration by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Mayor Gavin Newsom has proposed prohibiting tobacco sales in pharmacies, including Walgreens and Rite Aid. The city’s public health chief said the proposal is modeled after rules in eight provinces in Canada but has not been tried anywhere in the United States.

Supervisor Chris Daly has proposed legislation that would vastly limit areas where people can smoke.

Gone would be smoking in all businesses and bars, which now make an exception for owner-operated ones.

Gone too would be lighting up in taxicabs and rental cars, city-owned vehicles, farmers’ markets, common areas of apartment buildings, tourist hotels, tobacco shops, charity bingo games, unenclosed dining areas, waiting areas such as lines at an ATM or movie theater, and anywhere within 20 feet of entrances to private, nonresidential buildings.

Mitch Katz, director of the Department of Public Health, said he strongly supports both measures – even if they are angering business owners who say it’s one more example of San Francisco City Hall overstepping its bounds.

"Tobacco remains the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S. – period," he said. "It’s government’s responsibility to protect people from obvious risks."

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43 Responses to “San Francisco May Damn-Near Outlaw Smoking Altogether”

  1. #1 |  TomMil | 

    “It’s government’s responsibility to protect people from obvious risks.”

    It is not the government’s responsiblity to protect the people from themselves. See, this is the kind of crap that makes me nuts about the liberals. I know I am not a conservative but the liberals with this crap and speech codes – hate speech mke it impossible to accept their ideology.

  2. #2 |  buzz | 

    I assume they will be taking down the bridge and filling in the bay in short order then? Better smooth out those hills too. Cars could lose control, people could have heart attacks, etc.
    “”It’s government’s responsibility to protect people from obvious risks.”” Missed where that was in the constitution but I assume my motorcycle is illegal in San Fran now? I could add any number of things that government should promptly outlaw now that I know its governments responsibility. I would start with “Fun”.

  3. #3 |  Billy Beck | 

    “It’s government’s responsibility to protect people from obvious risks.”

    Oh, yeah?

    Who the fuck is going to protect me from him?

    Jesus.

  4. #4 |  MassHole | 

    RENTAL CARS!?!?!

    So if I’m smoking a butt while driving a car with a little enterprise sticker on the back the cops can pull me over?

    This is insane. F the nanny state.

  5. #5 |  j.d. | 

    can we just ban oxygen from that city? plz?

  6. #6 |  witless chum | 

    Although that’s a long list, I don’t think it would actually change my smoking much. The only one if might get would be unenclosed dining areas, which I presume means the patio at a bar or restaurant.

    Mostly I smoke in my car, on my back porch and outside the front door to work. So I can take a few steps north and that’s it.

    That said the idea of a bar smoking ban if pretty mind-blowing. “here in this establishment thats purpose is to serve you one drug that’s bad for you, we can’t have you doing this other drug that’s way worse for you.”

  7. #7 |  Chris in AL | 

    “It’s government’s responsibility to protect people from obvious risks.”

    We have this constitution thingy that actually lines out pretty thoroughly what government’s responsibility is…can he point out the ‘protection from obvious risks’ in there?

  8. #8 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Can’t let the sheeple make their own decisions. They might do something we don’t like or approve of.

  9. #9 |  Marty | 

    the constitution was designed to ‘protect us from obvious risks’ and the founders understood this.

    of course, the obvious risks were related to government intrusions…

  10. #10 |  Karl | 

    It is getting very sad. These elected officials seem to think they were elected as my parents. This is exactly why most kids run away. Too much parental control. Just let us make our own decisions and live with the concequences. If we aren’t hurting anyone else, leave us alone.

  11. #11 |  thorn | 

    One more reason not to live there.

  12. #12 |  smurfy | 

    “It’s government’s responsibility to protect people from obvious risks.”

    But if the risks are obvious why do we need…Oh never mind, I give up.

  13. #13 |  Danno49 | 

    I wonder if they will ban weed smoking as well. A 5 minute walk down Market will at some point treat you to at least one lovely waft of marijuana smoke . . . wait . . . that’s already illegal. Or so I’ve heard. Just doesn’t seem to be there.

  14. #14 |  Lee | 

    smurfy, the risks are obvious only to the highly enlightened and vastly intelligent government types! You and I are Citizen Nothing, therefore our barnyard smartz ain’t be enuff to figger it done out!

  15. #15 |  Dave Krueger | 

    “Tobacco remains the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S. – period,” he said. “It’s government’s responsibility to protect people from obvious risks.”

    The real No. 1 cause of death is life. How long before they decide to protect us from that?

  16. #16 |  Justin | 

    witless chum:
    Belmont, right down the road from SF on the peninsula, banned smoking in your own car too.

  17. #17 |  bob | 

    Welcome to the Nanny State Cafe – Would you prefer non-smoking or non-smoking?

    You’d like to see a menu? Oh, we don’t need menus here, your government knows what you need to eat. And of course, your government knows best.

    Uh-oh… I’m afraid you’ll have to leave now. The computer just scanned your mandatory surgically implanted RFID tag and the public health database reports that you’ve already exceeded your caloric quota for the day.

    Have a nice safe day!

  18. #18 |  Chris | 

    Maybe they’re just trying to drive up more sales for Liberal Fascism…..

    Every time you think you are sure it’s the one party you can’t stand, the other one does something to piss you off even more.

  19. #19 |  Psion | 

    As a futurist (and a non-smoker), I simply can’t wait until there’s a cure for lung cancer and COPD. Whatever will be the excuse to ban smoking then?

  20. #20 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Weird, I just reread the Declaration of Independence *twice*, and nowhere does it mention the purpose of government being to save people from themselves or other dangers.

    Oddly, the opposite, government’s role is to secure the rights of people (i.e. life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc.)

  21. #21 |  Les | 

    It is not the government’s responsiblity to protect the people from themselves. See, this is the kind of crap that makes me nuts about the liberals. I know I am not a conservative but the liberals with this crap and speech codes – hate speech mke it impossible to accept their ideology.

    The problem is that conservatives are not one bit less guilty of this. Both sides are run by people who want to control what we say and what we do with our bodies. If people could just bring themselves to stop voting for Democrats and Republicans, we might make some headway.

  22. #22 |  Benjamin | 

    Mencken is rolling in his grave.

  23. #23 |  Danno49 | 

    “Gone too would be lighting up in taxicabs and rental cars, city-owned vehicles, farmers’ markets, common areas of apartment buildings, tourist hotels, tobacco shops, charity bingo games, unenclosed dining areas . . .”

    I can’t believe I missed it the first time around. How fucking stupid is that? Sure, it’s all stupid but Jesus Christ on a Ritz cracker that is some seriously obtuse shit!

  24. #24 |  Elroy | 

    I am an occasional smoker. I may go months without lighting up. I used to enjoy going to bars a few times a year, smoke a few cigarettes and drink a few drinks. They banned smoking in bars here in Ohio and I have not been to one since. My non-smoking friends say its nice to go to a bar and not smell cigarettes. I like my bars to smell like cigarettes. The state is going to force us all to be so healthy we will all live to be 120. We will just die of boredom I guess.

  25. #25 |  Chris M | 

    Who the hell gave Elroy’s post a thumbs down?

  26. #26 |  Justin | 

    “It’s government’s responsibility to protect people from obvious risks.”

    That’s funny, I seemed to have missed where this is in the Constitution, the rulebook designed to regulate and restrict our government. I’m sure it must be in there somewhere, else things like this couldn’t happen.
    *End Sarcasm*

    When the government regulates what the citizenry can do and where they can do it, no matter how small the incident might seem, it’s something to be abhorred. Each one of those incidences is one step away from liberty and one step toward totalitarianism.

  27. #27 |  nemo | 

    I don’t smoke, and don’t like being around people who do, but this is getting insane. The ‘social engineers’ of both Left and Right need to ‘get a life’ so that their own aren’t so boring they feel a need to mind other people’s lives…

  28. #28 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    “It’s government’s responsibility to protect people from obvious risks.”

    It can be found in our constitution right below the part where it guarantees us cheap gas….

  29. #29 |  Jozef | 

    “It’s government’s responsibility to protect people from obvious risks.”

    Oh, yeah?

    Who the fuck is going to protect me from him?

    I’m wondering the opposite: Who the fuck is going to protect him from me?

    The real No. 1 cause of death is life. How long before they decide to protect us from that?

    Actually, it has been proved that “death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time.” (George Carlin, PBUH)

  30. #30 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    “It’s government’s responsibility to protect people from obvious risks.”

    May we assume, then, that the San Francisco nannies will be re-outlawing sodomy soon?

    Just wondering.

  31. #31 |  Anthony | 

    I’ve had conversations with educated and presumably intelligent people in San Francisco willing to support any and all cigarette smoking at the same time they were smoking pot.

    So no, marijuana doesn’t count. It’s the left-wing cigarette of choice.

  32. #32 |  Anthony | 

    This should read:

    I’ve had conversations with educated and presumably intelligent people in San Francisco willing to support any and all cigarette smoking bans at the same time they were smoking pot.

    Apologies.

  33. #33 |  Justin | 

    Thanks Zappa, I see where it’s at in the Constitution now.

    Nothing to see here people. Move along.

  34. #34 |  Sam | 

    Not smoking in bars is probably one of the best laws ever instituted by any city. Why if I go out to a bar should I have to smell like cigarettes until I shower the next day? I shouldn’t. The smoker is infringing upon my right to choose to not smoke when he lights up in an enclosed space. Bars sell alcohol, not tobacco. The logic, “well then don’t frequent that bar” is bullshit cause you all know bars aren’t going to be non smoking unless there is a law against it. The laws outlawing smoking outdoors are a little ridiculous (and at tobacco shops very ridiculous as anyone frequenting them should assume there will be smoking) and seem to cast too wide a net to ever be realistically enforced. I think a better rule of thumb would be if you are smoking near someone and they complain you should either have to stop smoking or go somewhere else as your choice to smoke is impinging on there liberty to non stinky air.

  35. #35 |  Billy Beck | 

    Sam… oh, Sam… Are you aware that it’s not necessary to act like an imbecile?

  36. #36 |  roy | 

    I once explained these laws to an immigrant from Russia, who was a kid during Soviet rule. Even he was baffled as to how the government thought it was their business. “But it’s your bar. How can they stop you from letting people smoke there?”

  37. #37 |  Sam | 

    Billy,

    You’re really mature! And your constructive criticism shows you are likely the smartest person in this comment section. Why can’t Bill O’Reilly be more like you?

  38. #38 |  xyz123 | 

    say, apropos of nothing, what political party/political philosophy dominates san francisco politics? has dominated it for *decades*? does anyone else think this might have some relevance in the upcoming national elections?

    or have we all decided to ignore stories like this, and their possible implications when implemented by fiat on a national scale, and just hope/change for the best?

  39. #39 |  Elroy | 

    Sam,

    Why can’t I have 1 bar where I can go to smoke? Why can’t I open a business that caters to smokers? If enough people really wanted completely non-smoking bars, the free market would have created them. I suspect now that the law has passed here, if it was repealed some bars would remain non-smoking. Do we need a law for everything we find disagreeable in society?

  40. #40 |  Billy Beck | 

    “And your constructive criticism shows you are likely the smartest person in this comment section.”

    Hmm. Maybe you’re not so dumb as you look.

  41. #41 |  Red Green | 

    First come the LAWS, then comes the WAR to uphold the laws. Sound familiar? Any prohibitions end at my nose.

  42. #42 |  Justin | 

    Sam, the point is that any law like this only leads to more laws like this. It’s not the government’s place to tell people how to run their lives, their homes, or their businesses. That’s the whole point of liberty, our Constitution, and the free market. It may start as simple as no smoking in bars or restaurants. Then, as we can see, it can lead to no smoking at all. But alcohol can be dangerous as well, so then they decide to ban any drinking in public places, so no more bars. Seems like a great idea, right? No more drunk drivers! Well, certain foods are unhealthy, particularly fast foods. Those must be banned as well. Even some foods that can be purchased at grocery stores are unhealthy, so all those foods must go. Still yet, if you eat too much or too little, that is similarly unhealthy, so daily intake of food must be rationed. And heaven forbid you don’t have your child’s diet based around the food pyramid! Why, then CPS would simply have to remove them from your care, for their safety. So you see Sam, it might seem like a convenience to you for smoking to be banned in public places, but it comes at the cost of others losing their liberty, and it can lead to you losing yours. Our Founding Fathers would be appalled at what we have let happen to the legacy they left us.

    “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.”
    -Benjamin Franklin

  43. #43 |  Sam | 

    Justin,

    Whoa boy, you took my advocacy of no smoking in bars off the deep end… You seem to link prohibiting smoking in bars to blanket prohibition of smoking, drinking and any other drugs. I never said anything remotely relating to this and I think your reasoning here is specious at best. I think we can all agree that how the netherlands treats heroin addicts is much more preferable than how we treat them. Instead of criminals they are sick patients, that need to goto a clinic every day in order to get their fix. In this way heroin is seen as less cool and gets ostracized in a much better way by their society. Gone is the mystique of operating outside the law and in is the reality that you are simply addicted to something you can’t control (which is pretty shitty). I see making it illegal to smoke in bars in the exact same way. Society is ostracizing smokers as a way to cut down, but not eliminate, smoking. It’s much less cool if every time you want to indulge in your addiction you need to go outside and separate yourself from your friends. And for what?! A little white tube? Smoking is becoming less prevalent in our society and I don’t see why non-addicts should have to bend over backwards to accommodate people that are addicted to nicotine. (remember folks, nicotine is at least as addictive as heroin and much more physically damaging). Are all of you people defending cigarette smokers really advocating we go back to where people could smoke everywhere? Planes, trains, your workplace etc? Is it really so bad that smokers need to go outside to smoke? The free-market argument is also a cop-out. Like communism a real free market system will never EVER exist. The ideas of the free-market need to be blended applicably to other systems to be successful.

    One last thing, your Franklin quote is not applicable at all in this situation. A) I wasn’t aware smoking was an essential liberty. B) I wasn’t aware taking it away from bars was making me more secure. Kind of a non sequiter that distracts from what we are debating (although if that is just a signature or something I apologize)

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